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Concessions improvement provides relief for Badger fans

Published On: Sep 08 2013 04:01:47 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 03 2013 02:42:12 PM CDT

The biggest question on the minds of Badger fans at Saturday’s game wasn’t how many touchdowns Wisconsin was going to win by.

After the disappearing act pulled by drink vendors during Camp Randall’s season opener last week, thirsty fans wondered if they were going to be able to get refreshments at Saturday’s hot and humid game.

In a sea of red, the bright yellow shirts of the Camp Randall vendors are easy to spot. But they weren’t so easy to spot last week.

"It was a disgrace," said Bill Weiss of Elm Grove about the August 31 season opener. "It was unbearable. There was no way to get anything in the stands."

Did the second week of the season provide more relief for parched Badger fans unwilling to leave their seats during game action?

It seems the short answer to that burning question is "yes."

"I got soda here at the stand inside," said Lisa Conway from Verona. "But I saw the vendors out there. People were able to get their water right when they called them over. No problem."

The UW Athletic Department met with the Learfield Levy Foodservice group after last Saturday's game, hoping concessions would be a little more plentiful in future games.

"Obviously something we encountered last week that was frankly out of the norm for us," said Justin Doherty, UW athletics spokesman. "And it was obviously something that needed to be addressed, and so we addressed it."

The Learfield Levy Foodservice group also handles concessions at other stadiums and arenas throughout the country, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the United Center in Chicago.

Fans said they were pleased to see more vendors working the crowds Saturday at Camp Randall.

"We felt like we were able to get the concessions pretty easily whether it was water out in the stands or concessions back here," said Britt Vondra from Platteville.

"A substantially larger number of sellers in the stands themselves," said Doherty of how the UW addressed the situation. "Once you have that, that's going to result in a lot shorter lines."

Despite the additional staff, though, some fans say the vending company still isn't cutting it.

"There was a difference, but I'd like to see, bring the young kids back,” said Weiss of the new, older group of vendors. “Give them a job out here."

The UW Athletic Department reviews everything after each home game from the parking, to traffic flow, to, of course, the concessions.

They have two weeks to work out any more kinks, as the Badgers travel to Arizona State this week.

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